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April 16, 2021

House Democrats Announce Bill to Add Four Justices to the Supreme Court

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jarrod Nadler (D-NY)
photo credit: Brookings Institution / Flickr
On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrod Nadler (D-NY) introduced a bill that would expand the number of Supreme Court seats from nine to thirteen. If the Judiciary Act of 2021 is passed into law, it would give president Biden the power to immediately appoint four additional justices to the Supreme Court and skew it in favor of the Democratic party.

Nadler said that his bill would “restore balance to the nation’s highest court after four years of norm-breaking actions by Republicans led to its current composition.”

Democratic legislators have argued that it was unfair for Senate Republicans to block the nomination of an Obama-appointed Supreme Court Justice after Justice Antonin Scalia died months before the 2016 election. When Trump took office, he filled that seat with Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Democrats also took issue with the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the court in 2020.

“Republicans stole the Court’s majority, with Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation completing their crime spree,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is suggesting that she does not support bringing the issue of court-packing before the floor of the House at the moment, however.

“I don't know if [court packing is] a good idea or a bad idea,” she said. “I think it's an idea that should be considered and I think the president's taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing.”

President Biden refused to say whether he supported court-packing during his 2020 presidential campaign. His commission studying court reform includes former NARAL legal director Caroline Fredrickson.

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